Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This week I’m filling out forms for the ELCA assignment process. In other words, I’m doing paperwork. Lots of it.

Sometimes the paperwork is merely informational. What’s my home synod? (Indiana-Kentucky.) Where was I baptized? (Foster City, California.) What’s my Social Security Number? (Nice try.) This is the easy stuff, and it’s called, appropriately enough, “Form A.”

But the task quickly gets more complicated. “Form B” asks us to “describe the ministry situation(s) and setting(s) to which you have the clearest sense of call and describe the gifts you bring.” In other parts of candidacy process, you get to spend a lengthy essay exploring questions like this one. Here we are allowed 250 words or less. On the basis of a piece of writing the length of one of these blog posts, a bishop will draft me into one of nine geographical regions. No pressure.

(Below: A wordle based on the paragraph I wrote for Form B.)
After I’m assigned, bishops, synods, and finally a congregation will get to see the next form on my to-do list this week: the Rostered Leader Profile, sixteen pages of prompts where I get to elaborate on my calling and gifts for ministry in more detail.

It’s intimidating to fill out paperwork like this, but, I must admit, it’s exciting, too. It requires me to look back over my time at seminary and marvel at the ways my call and my gifts have been nurtured, challenged, and made a part of what God is doing in the world. It has me filled with gratitude and wonder, which is just about perfect for a week leading up to Thanksgiving.

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